Thomas Kendall with Hongi Hika

Thomas Kendall with Waikato (left) and Hongi Hika in London in 1820

In 1815 Kendall's A korao (korero) no New Zealand; or, the New Zealander's first book; being an attempt to compose some lessons for the instruction of the natives was printed in Sydney. This was the first book published in Maori. In 1820 Kendall made an unauthorised visit to England (Marsden had openly appealed to him not to go) accompanied by Hongi Hika and the younger chief Waikato of Rangihoua. The three went to Cambridge to work with Professor Samuel Lee on a compilation of a Maori grammar. The book, A grammar and vocabulary of the language of New Zealand, was published at the end of 1820, and it laid the orthographic foundations of written Maori.

Marsden disapproved of Kendall's interest in Maori language and custom; the mission's role was to impart European religion and civilisation, not to study a 'heathen' culture. Marsden felt that 'by prying into the obscene customs and notions of the natives with a vitiated curiosity, his [Kendall's] own mind has become so polluted that it will be very difficult for him to purify his ideas'. Dismissed after he was found to be having a relationship with a Maori servant, Kendall eventually returned to New South Wales with his family.


Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: G-618
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa must be obtained before any reuse of this image.

How to cite this page: 'Thomas Kendall with Hongi Hika', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 24-Feb-2014

Community contributions

Shane Smith
26 Jun 2011
I am a gggg Grandson also. Edward (last child of Thomas) Edward Marsden (son of edward)ethel maud (daughter of Edward M) Francis Leslie (son of Ethel) Barbara anna (Daughter of Francis L) Me
Cedric Lester Nash
31 Dec 2010
I am a a gggg grandson of Thomas Kendall. Lawrence Kendall (Son of Thomas) Emma Lester Bowen Kendall (Daughter of Lawrence) Emma married Thomas Nash. Lawrence Nash (Son of Emma) Eric Lester Nash (Son of Lawrence) myself Cedric Lester Nash (Son of Eric) I would like to go back to the Bay of Islands and visit the area he lived in now that I know my history.

What do you know?